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Byrne, Brooks both critical of 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said Thursday that the Committee passed National Defense Authorization Act does not provide enough resources to support our military and complained that it weakens border security. Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, also voted against the measure.

Byrne made his statement following the House Armed Services Committee passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA passed out of committee by a vote of 33 to 24.

“National security and military programs are critical to Alabama, so I could not support the Democrat-written defense authorization bill that did not include the resources necessary to support our military men and women and restore our defense readiness,” Byrne said. “Despite growing threats to our national security, Democrats used what has traditionally been a bipartisan defense bill to weaken our border security, harm our nuclear posture, and ease the transfer of Guantanamo detainees into the United States. Democrats included a provision to block President Trump from picking the paint in the new Air Force Ones, but they couldn’t even provide the base amount of resources Pentagon leaders say is necessary to defend our country.”

“After an all-night House Armed Services Committee voting session, at 6:30 this morning, I joined my Republican colleagues in voting ‘no’ on final committee passage of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act,” Brooks said. “The NDAA has been signed into law 58 consecutive years and the House Armed Services Committee usually passes the NDAA by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. For example, HASC passed the FY19 NDAA on a bipartisan 60-1 vote when Republicans held the majority. The FY20 NDAA is different. The FY20 NDAA undermines America’s border security and national security. It’s unfortunate Socialist Democrats on the committee in bad faith refused to consider or support constructive Republican amendments. HASC Socialist Democrats refused to work in a bipartisan manner — as Republicans did when we held the House majority — to craft a bill that both Republicans and Democrats could support. I’m hopeful the FY20 NDAA is improved in the House floor amendment process and the eventual Senate-House compromise bill is worthy of a ‘yes’ vote.”

“The defense of our country is too important an issue, so I hope Democrats stop with the political games and decide to work together to ensure our military has the policy and resources necessary to keep the American people safe,” Byrne concluded.

Byrne argued that by reducing the overall top line, the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act reduces the resources available to improve and maintain our defense readiness. Byrne also objected to language in the bill prohibiting the use of funds to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

“For starters, Socialist Democrats blatantly used the FY20 NDAA to promote open borders by attacking, thwarting and undermining President (Donald) Trump’s existing yet rather meager border security powers and policies,” Brooks explained. “To be clear, border security is national security. The FY20 NDAA blocks President Trump from using existing law and existing funding to build a border wall or otherwise promote border security that protects and saves American lives. In so doing, Socialist Democrats supported the deaths of over 30,000 Americans each year (2,000+ American deaths/year via homicides by illegal aliens on American soil [per Immigration and Customs Enforcement data] plus another 30,000+ American deaths/year from overdoses on poisonous drugs shipped across America’s porous southern border [per Center for Disease Control and Drug Enforcement Agency data]). To be absolutely blunt and clear about America’s border security threat, more Americans have died as a result of America’s porous southern border than have been killed in any American conflict or war, excepting World War II and the Civil War. Yet, HASC Socialist Democrats, blinded by their hatred for President Trump and crass love for political power over country, not only blocked ANY new, effective border security measures, they also voted to deny President Trump the use of some of the few border security powers he has under existing law to save and protect American lives.”

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Byrne introduced amendments to prohibit the transfer of GITMO detainees to the U.S. and eliminate prohibitions on Trump modernizing Air Force One. The Democratic majority on the Committee defeated these amendments.

While he voted against the bill, Brooks admits of it he does like. These include $38 million authorized for construction of an Aircraft and Flight Equipment Building on Redstone Arsenal; $40 million for construction of a new air traffic control tower and airport terminal on Kwajalein Atoll, a key component of America’s missile defense assets; a Department of Defense report to Congress on progress made to enable accelerated integration of new missile capabilities into the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense program; full funding for the development of the Army’s Precision Guidance Kit – Anti-Jam; a Department of Defense briefing to defense committees regarding on board vehicle power technology and “a Department of Defense report (validated by MDA) to the defense committees on the conduct and results of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor sense-off.”

It also authorized the creation of the Space Corps (Space Force).

The Republicans on the Armed Forces Committee voted against this version of the NDAA 24 to 2.

The NDAA now moves to consideration by the full House of Representatives. Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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